Remember that you are representing the University of Oxford, as much as you are yourself, in your conduct during your internship. It is important to be professional in all areas of your work, including:
Punctuality and time-keeping
Regardless of how relaxed the office culture may appear, regular lateness and unpunctuality will be noted. Also, make sure that you are aware of the correct protocols for taking breaks, and for what to do if you are ill.
This applies to face-to-face conversation as much as it does to emails – be wary of being too informal. Swearing, for example, suggests an unwarranted familiarity. As with all correspondence, you should never mention anything in an email that couldn’t be forwarded to other colleagues or clients, published online or in the newspapers. You should also be very wary of personal social media use: do not post anything publicly which could undermine your reputation, the reputation of your host (either directly, or via association with you), or the reputation of the University of Oxford. Most organisations have to take their reputations very seriously, and it is not uncommon for an organisation to seek to safeguard this by checking on the public social media activity of its employees and interns.
Be proactive, and be positive! Not only will this make a good impression on your colleagues and supervisor, but you will also get a lot more out of the placement as a result. You should also be mindful of your conduct outside work, as a representative of the University and your host organisation. Please refrain from doing anything that might jeopardize the good reputation of each. If you are living in an unfamiliar cultural setting, it is important to be particularly attentive to the social values, and the dos and don’ts, so as to avoid unintentionally causing offence.
Keep a running record of your work and achievements during your placement. This will be useful when you come to update your CV, write cover letters and prepare for interviews in the future. Think about noting important details, particularly facts or figures which illustrate the scale of your achievements. It may be worth looking over our advice pages on CVs and cover letters so that you have a clear idea of what information might be most useful to remember.
Keep assessing whether you are getting what you want from the internship. Refer back to the original aims that you had when you applied, and keep doing as much as you can to attain them and to develop further – be proactive! Ask for feedback on your work from your supervisor and/or colleagues so that you can improve in your work as you go along.
Use the placement as an opportunity to extend your network and make new, useful connections to people within the organisation and sector. Make an effort to connect with your colleagues – they will probably have lots to teach you!
Visit our webpage on networking for advice on the importance of networking, and how to do it.
Support from the Internship Office
If you are on an internship organised through our Internship Office and feel that you are struggling with an issue related to the placement – which cannot be resolved by talking to your host organization – then contact the Internship Office and we will do what we can to support you.
In such circumstances, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.